Sherman to discuss China with EU partners, but ‘won’t succeed’ in swaying China or alienating it
Published: Apr 22, 2022 12:03 AM
Wendy Sherman photo:CFP

Wendy Sherman photo:CFP

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is expected to meet with EU partners on Thursday to discuss matters related to China in the third high-level meeting of the US-EU dialogue on China. 

US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said that the US will continue to “carefully monitor the level of support China may show toward Russia.”

Chinese experts said the US will not succeed in its attempt to undermine China-EU relations by using the Russia-Ukraine conflict, nor will it change China's position and principle of neutrality, mutual respect, and cooperation.

Sherman earlier met with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana and NATO Permanent Representatives in Brussels. According to the US Department of State, Sherman informed NATO officials of the US’ concerns about China’s “support for Russia’s aggression,” including through its “amplification of Russian disinformation,” and called to defend the “rules-based order.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded on Thursday that it is pure disinformation to allege that China has acquiesced in and connived on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and that Russia has requested military equipment from China. 

Wang said the bellicose US shoulders responsibility over the turmoil in Europe and elsewhere in the world. “As European countries pay a heavy price for the conflict, American arms dealers and oil and gas companies have made a fortune. This is not disinformation.” 

“The US should stop spreading disinformation to smear China, face up to and reflect on its due responsibility in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and work with the international community to facilitate an early political resolution of the Ukraine crisis, rather than let Europe and the whole world pay a dearer price for its selfish agenda,” Wang said.

In the dialogue with Europe, the US will still want to continue to unite European countries, asking them to further choose sides and undermine normal relations between China and European countries, Diao Daming, associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times.

“The US will emphasize to the EU that China must not be allowed to profit from the current situation,” Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said. 
Experts believe that US aspirations will likely not impress all countries as some European countries, which opt for a pragmatic solution rather than picking sides and inflaming conflicts, will find holes in US logic and maintain a more rational view of China, while some may be more proactive against China under US pressure.
Despite US officials repeatedly warning that China would face “serious consequences” if it provides weapons to Russia or assists the Russians evade sanctions, experts noted that the US is only trying to create a hypothetical enemy and is unlikely to actually impose further sanctions on China.

"If the US calls for sanctions against China, it is forcing China to stand with Russia," Lü said. "China and Russia are only strategic partners and are not involved in tactical matters. If the US forces China to side with it and its allies, the consequences of this unjustified action are difficult to predict."

The US needs to deal more calmly with the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Lü told the Global Times. "The US seems to think it can create a myth by quickly dismantling Russia in an agitated way, but such strategies are often fragile."

China’s leaders have repeatedly made it clear that sanctions are not in line with China's attitude in the face of international disputes. While all sides have repeatedly confirmed that China is not providing military assistance to Russia, it makes no sense to stop normal trade, Diao said.

The US knows that China is unlikely to cooperate with its unilateral moves, and plans to take the next step in smearing China on it, tying up China and Russia and creating a larger “threat narrative,” Diao noted.

"Unlike the US, China is choosing its position on the merits and acting with respect for the UN charter," Diao told the Global Times. "This approach is what guarantees that the world can stay under mutual respect, cooperation and win-win order."